Song of a Sparrow
Thy light does not go out, immortal fire,
Though darkness fall upon thee and debris,
Though oceans cast upheavals to thy gleam,
Infinity berate thy fevered mind.
No scythe of time offends thy regal face,
No water's thrall descends to heal thy wrath,
No Scylla or Charybdis mote thy word.
Thy flames need not the food our fires crave.
Through eons sittest thou enthroned, inured,
Holding silent vigil for sentries past,
Whose tributaries fall and ever rise
To prove thy reasoned judgments unprofaned.
O sovereign of a solitary place,
Mystery prince whose beams are so insured
To animate wanderers, song inspire,
Stones warm that proffer bread and grace,
Who art thou who remains through all that dies,
Whose ray unbounded fears no igneous tomb,
Whose charity stirs air and bud and lyre,
And soothes the lamb whose cries are oft unheard?
So Earth whose parts imperiled turn to dust,
Whose stones divide by stone or flood or flame,
Alters not her size nor lessens scope,
Nor does the Moon diminish though a stone,
Nor trim her nightly journeys to the morn,
Though mountains on the Moon may shrink to knolls.
(What fluted memory of an ammonite
Would feign outstrip their proud longevity?)
How parts decay while sums remain unchanged
Is something my poor mind could not array.
And yet what is by someone must be known,
Or how could riddles be so unrestrained
As to arise yet find nowhere to go?
Or why is such a puzzle in my thought
Again and again and nowhere to go?
Is thought itself not part of Nature’s skein,
A cry, a light, a sign, a spear, a naught,
Whose wisdom engenders nothing in vain?
So finite or infinite the All must be.
Yet if finite, then bounded by what?
If the All is what is, what surrounds it is-not.
My mind cannot encompass such a not!
If infinite, then there is always more.
My mind cannot grasp hold of such a store!
And yet what is by someone must be known.
If the hieroglyph before my eyes
Proves my eyes unseeing where they see,
Then how much wonder heavenward must be,
Though aporia render me unwise.
For a mind that knows not what true knowing holds,
Yet knows beyond its own there is far more
To know that greater minds behold--
Or if no match twixt known and knower be--
What treasure could a knower hold in store
Who the greatest knowing could endure
What emerald mansions line a forest's bough!
If there's a knower greater than my mind,
And so the known is far beyond my ken,
Then o what gratitude I feel within,
As a joyous child absolved of every fault!
For images arise to let me in
To a dazzling field of dandelions, a cove
Where a rock gives birth to suns, a sun to streams,
Palaces of darkness turn to dreams,
While here I sing and marvel at thy vault,
And wake the words of wonderers for thy love.
Copyright © 2010 by Sam Gold